While there are no pictures of it, one can surely imagine the large smile that was on the face of Seattle Mariner starting pitcher, Felix Hernandez. On, Thursday, “King” Felix was named the AL Cy Young winner, this after coming in second in the voting last year behind the Royals Zack Greinke.
But, his smile and the smiles that were breaking out at his player agency, Octagon Baseball, were also about the nice pay increase Hernandez landed, on top of the contract he reached earky this year.
Hernandez and Octagon agent Alan Nero negotiated escalators and award bonuses within his contract that will have the young pitcher earning an extra $2.7 million over the life of the contract.
His base salary contract line looked like this at the time of his signing last year, which avoided salary arbitration:
$6,500,000-2010; $10,000,000-2011; $18,500,000-2012; $19,500,000-2013; $20,000,000-2014
He already earned more than the base 2010 salary by coming in second in the Cy Young voting and being an All-Star ($200,000 for second in Cy Young, $50,000 for All-Star)
But, his contract has a provision that If he wins the Cy Young the base immediately following season increases by $1,000,000. So, now that 5-year, $78 million reached on January 19 of this year has a current contract value of $80.7 million over 5-years:
- 2010: $6,700,000 ($6.5 base + $200k in awards for runner-up in 2009 Cy Young voting)
- 2011: $11,000,000 (Escalates from $10M to $11M Cy Young win)
- 2012: $19,000,000 (Escalates from $18.5M to $19M Cy Young win)
- 2013: $20,000,000 (Escalates from $19.5M to $20M Cy Young win)
- 2014: $20,500,000 (Escalates from $20M to $20.5M Cy Young win)
All told, the “King” has earned an extra $2.7 million in award monies over the life of the contract reached less than a year ago, and who’s to say he’s not done yet? Landing on the All-Star Game seems almost at given at this stage, and he could certainly be in the running for another Cy Young.
As of now, with the escalators, his annual average value (AAV) on the contract jumps from $15,600,000 to $16,140,000. According to Jeff Euston of Cot’s Contracts, that would move Hernandez from ranking 10th in AAV for pitchers to ahead of Justin Verlander at #8.
And remember, when the deal was reached in January, there was also a $3.5 million signing bonus. That smile you see is not just someone that is happy about an award. It’s a smile thinking about the extra green he just landed in the off-season.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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